All you have to do is click here and read this great compilation by Dave Farley.
The premise is simple: Ask 20 great writer/eaters what their best bites/meals of the year were. Usually this kind of piece is a snoozer but I read it, and then re-read, then took notes. It’s a great read.
Have a great weekend. Stay warm with this recipe.
Gai Tom Kha
If there is a more popular Thai dish than this one, I don’t know what it could be. And everyone thinks it must be very tough to make, it couldn’t be easier, as you will see. Chicken coconut soup is Thai grandmother food on steroids. This is a simple Thai recipe, and a favorite with many Asian food fans, all the ingredients can be collected from local Asian supermarkets that are springing up everywhere.
3 cups rich chicken broth
1 golf ball sized piece of galangal (Siamese ginger) or conventional ginger root
1 large stalk lemon grass, trimmed and sliced thin.
2 Kaffir lime leaves
2 cans (14 ounces each) unsweetened coconut milk
1# boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
2T chile-tamarind paste(nam phrik pao) available in Asian markets . . . if you don’t have this, you can mix tamarind paste and hot chile sambal and almost recreate it, but not quite.
One quarter cup fresh lime juice
2 and one half T brown sugar
2 and ½ T fish sauce
Half pound straw mushrooms (canned is fine) or fresh oyster mushrooms or both!
5 small thai red chiles, sliced in half lengthwise
Cilantro leaf for garnish
Bring the stock, lime leaves, lemon grass, sugar, galangal, and chile paste to a boil in small pot.
Add the coconut milk, and bring to a simmer.
Add the chicken and mushrooms and bring to a simmer, quickly stir in the limejuice and fish sauce. Float the chiles on the soup and serve, garnishing with cilantro sprigs.
I serve this dish with sticky rice on the side and a quick salad of chiles, vinegar, sugar, onion and cucumber.
3 cups Thai sticky rice
Soak rice overnight in enough of a volume of water to cover the rice by 4 inches.
Drain well and place in a conical straw-steaming basket for sticky rice, or in a damp muslin lined sieve set over a pot of boiling water. Cover the rice with a damp cloth, and do not let the bottom of the sieve touch the water.
Steam for 25 minutes and let rice rest for 10 minutes. Turn rice out into a bowl and immediately cover with a warm, damp cloth.